Ten planning lessons from the elegant oasis of Palm Springs

Below are ten (10) planning lessons from the beautiful desert city of Palm Springs, California. Peace!

Few places have such a dramatic elevation change in such a short distance (up to 9,000 feet in four miles). This makes Palm Springs’ visual backdrop so awe-inspiring. It also makes maintaining the continuity of these remarkable viewsheds that much more vital to the well-being of the community.

The “Palm Springs” name is a brand unto itself that people recognize globally. Few cities have this luxury and it is an excellent marketing and economic development tool.

The collection of mid-century modern architecture in Palm Springs is museum worthy. It’s a pleasure to see that preservation efforts in Palm Springs have been so successful.

The great diversity of plant and animal life here in the desert is more proof that the term “desert” is a serious misnomer for places which are lacking something – e.g. “food desert.”

The popularity of the aerial tramway connecting Palm Springs with the gorgeous San Jacinto Mountains demonstrates the potential usefulness of aerial trams/gondolas as a mass transportation option, especially in those cities with rugged landscapes.

Palm Springs is full of contrasts – houseless sleeping on the streets within view of luxurious stores and movie star residences; cool mountain landscapes above and desert heat in the valley; lush manicured golf courses abutting rugged arid desert; and peaceful solitude interrupted by high altitude military aircraft overflights.

As note directly above, even a very wealthy resort enclave in the desert is not exempt from real world problems such as a houseless population.

The City of Palm Springs and the Agua Caliente tribe have worked in unison for the betterment of both populations. This is a welcome alternative to what is seen in far too many places in and near indigenous communities.

Downtown Palm Springs is a fun, energetic, entertaining, and walkable place that exudes vibrancy. More cities should observe what they’ve accomplished so successfully here.

As additional cities have sprung up in the Coachella Valley each seems to be trying to outdo the others for luxuriousness and amenities. This has led to “resort sprawl.” It is akin to what is seen along the Florida coastlines, in the Orlando area, in Vegas, and other similar places. However, the nine (9) cities from Desert Hot Springs to Coachella appear to be working together to solve shared problem of affordable housing, non-motorized transportation, and water conservation through the Coachella Valley Council of Governments (CVAG).

This entry was posted in Active transportation, adaptive reuse, Alternative transportation, architecture, art, bicycling, branding, Cities, civics, climate, commerce, culture, deserts, diversity, downtown, economic development, entertainment, Environment, fun, geography, Geology, health, hiking, historic preservation, history, Housing, humanity, inclusiveness, infrastructure, land use, landscape architecture, marketing, mountains, natural history, Nature, pictures, place names, placemaking, planning, poverty, recreation, skylines, spatial design, sprawl, Statistics, third places, topography, tourism, Transportation, Travel, Uncategorized, urban design, Urban Gondolas, urban planning, visual pollution, walking, weather, xeriscaping, zoning and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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